New to NEO: Three Law Students Who Have Made Cleveland Their Second Home

As a Northeast Ohio native, I’ve had a lifetime to get to know this great region. For many of my Case Western Reserve University School of Law classmates, their first year of law school was also their first introduction to life in Northeast Ohio. I spoke to a few of my classmates from around the country to learn more about their moves to the region and to share some of the advice they have for other students thinking about moving to Northeast Ohio for school.

Ameera Haider


Hometown: Chicago, IL

Undergraduate Institution: Saint Louis University

Her advice to new Northeast Ohioans: “Definitely to keep an open mind. Local Clevelanders are so passionate about improving their surroundings and it’s super cool to be able to see the growth firsthand.”

Ameera Haider had positive first impressions during her first visit to Cleveland when she visited the law school and enjoyed a “charming” lunch in Little Italy. As she got to know the region during her first two years of legal studies, Ameera said she said the biggest surprise was the attitudes of all of the locals she encountered. “I was most surprised by the strong revival among the local Clevelanders,” Ameera said. “Many of the young residents have taken an active interest in their neighborhoods and really embracing their homes. There is a strong sense of pride of being from Cleveland and a drive to make the city a better place to live.”

One of Ameera’s favorite things about her new life in Northeast Ohio is the food scene. “There are so many unique restaurants in the area I love sampling with my classmates,” she said. “One of my favorites is the relatively new Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern. The restaurant is less than a ten-minute walk from the law school and a unique concept I have never seen in Chicago.”

Ameera also noted that the area is easy to navigate and a great place to be on a student budget. Plus, being at the law school also keeps her close to the Cleveland Museum of Art, which is one of her top choices for a study break between classes.

Ameera’s favorite post-class snack, and a new addition to the University Circle neighborhood: Happy Dog.


Jonathan Aihie

Miami, FL

Undergraduate Institution: Florida State University

His advice for new Northeast Ohioans: “Come in with an open mind, and make sure you have the proper winter wardrobe.”

Jonathan said life in Northeast Ohio has been more than he imagined it would be. “It’s a very lively city, and I can feel the revitalization process. I was actually quite shocked at all it had to offer—it definitely exceeded my expectations.”

A resident of Downtown Cleveland, Jonathan has enjoyed how easily accessible his neighborhood is to bars, restaurants, and sporting events. The Healthline on Euclid Avenue also provides easy transportation between Downtown and the CWRU campus. “My law school classmates are very congenial, so that’s a plus, too.”

Jonathan said his favorite thing about living in Northeast Ohio has been the summertime and the variety of activities going on all the time, including Wade Oval Wednesdays, fun on East 4th Street, and downtown outdoor concerts.   “It’s cheap here compared to Miami, so you can have a lot of fun relatively inexpensively.”

One of Jonathan’s favorite spots: East 4th Street in Downtown Cleveland.


Katy Appleby


Hometown: Westminster, CO

Undergraduate Institution: University of Puget Sound, Tacoma WA

Her advice to new Northeast Ohioans: “NEO certainly gets all four seasons and so be prepared for both really hot and really cold.  A good pair of boots is an important investment. And most importantly, be willing to dig around a little bit for the fun stuff. It’s around, just be willing to go explore.”

Katy didn’t have many expectations when moving to Cleveland, but she quickly found that taking the time to get to know the area paid off, as she discovered lots to do in the region. “There are plenty of outdoor related activities and tons of just interesting and fun stuff to do,” Katy said.  “If you are willing to poke around a bit, there are tons of things to do.”

Katie’s Favorite Spot: Little Italy

Katy said she has enjoyed getting to know the region and its citizens. “NEO is very different than any of the places I’ve lived before, so one of my favorite parts about living here is getting to experience the different people and culture in Cleveland,” she said. For Katy, that includes great food just steps from her home, and from the law school. “I live just up the street from Little Italy and the abundance of delicious Italian food is for sure my favorite thing about it.”



Ellen Kirtner
Ellen Kirtner

Ellen Kirtner is a second-year law student at Case Western Reserve University and a Kent State University PRKent alumna. When she’s not studying, you can spot Ellen browsing local markets and shops, adventuring around town on the RTA, and eating as much vegan junk food as possible.